What Are Metal Carports Used For?

Protecting your car from the elements is extremely, both in the summer and winter. In the summer, your car is exposed to harsh, bleaching sunlight. The seatbelts become scorching hot, and the interior of your car begins to feel like a sauna. In the winter, your car is covered with snow and ice.

A carport is the perfect solution to these weather problems. Your car is a big investment, and it’s important to protect it. Cars kept out of the snow, ice, and extreme sun will last longer and look nicer. And owners appreciate not having to scrape ice off their windshields or burn themselves on hot seats.

But besides protecting your car from the weather, carports have a lot of other potential uses. Wondering what else you can do with a metal carport? Read on to find out!

Carports Are a Great Place to Store Boats

In many areas of the country, boating is a seasonal activity. When ice forms on the lakes or the wind becomes too biting to spend much time on the water, it’s time to store your boat. But finding a place to store your boat isn’t always easy.

Boat storage can be extremely expensive. You have to find a marina or other storage facility with room for your boat, and then you have to pay them a fee to keep your boat for the winter. Using a carport to store your boat eliminates the hassle and expense and allows you to store your boat on your own property.

Keep Your RV in Your Carport

Large carports are also sometimes used to store RVs. RVs are a major investment, and it’s important to provide proper storage to enhance their longevity and help them retain their beauty. Storing your RV in a carport is a great way to protect it.

Just like cars, RVs are harmed by sunlight, snow, and ice. A carport is a great solution to this problem, allowing you to keep your RV out of the elements when it’s not in use. The shade and shelter will make your RV look nicer and last longer. In addition, this option allows you to load your RV for a trip without having to go out into the rain!

No Screened-In Porch? Use Your Carport!

In areas without a lot of shade, outdoor entertaining can be a bit challenging. Your friends come over expecting a relaxing outdoor afternoon, but they end up spending their time in the hot, blistering sun. Instead of making your friends get a sunburn, try entertaining under your carport.

Carports make great shade. They are designed to protect cars from the sun and elements, and they can do the same thing for gatherings of people. Why not put a nice table and chairs under your carport, and have some iced tea with your friends?

Grill in the Rain

Grilling is the ultimate way to prepare the meal for a summer gathering. Nothing tastes better on a summer day than food straight off the grill. Of course, it always seems that when you plan to have a grilling party, the weather fails to cooperate. Grilling in the rain can ruin both the meal and the mood of your party.

Rather than standing in the rain with a grill, why not move your grill under the carport? Before you grill anywhere, it’s important to make sure the area is well-ventilated. Because a carport is open on the sides, it’s a great place to get some shelter from the elements and keep your hamburgers from getting wet!

Car Radiator Myth Busters: The Facts About Vehicle Cooling Systems

Ever since car manufactures started using radiators with plastic tanks the myths about radiators began flying. This article dispels some of the more popular myths floating around the Internet by providing the facts.

Myth 1: Slow Down or Slow Your Engine when Overheating

This is bad advice. Engine cooling is a combination for coolant flow and air flow across the radiator. Sometimes the best thing you can do is increase vehicle speed or engine speed to provide more coolant flow, more air flow or both.

I recall on one coast-to-coast trip driving through Arizona in 120+ degree temperature. My Porsche 944 Turbo was having a difficult time keeping cool at 65 MPH so I increased speed to 80 and it came down to normal operating temperature.

Another trick you can use if your vehicle is overheating is to turn on your heater. This works because the heater is basically a cooling coil that dumps heat from the engine inside the cabin of the vehicle. If it’s hot outside you’ll be uncomfortable, but you’ll save the engine.

Myth 2: Insects Will Ruin Your Radiator

While this could be true, the circumstance would have to be very extreme. We’re talking driving through a swarm of locust at a high rate of speed kind of extreme. Not likely.

Here are the facts. In areas where insect population is heavy your car, truck or SUV radiator will collect insect remains. The hot cooling coils will quickly dehydrate the bug remains until the only thing that remains are the wings and exoskeleton. A good, stiff stream of water will easily wash away the remains.

As long as you keep the car clean, you have nothing to worry about when it comes to bugs.

Myth 3: A Small Coolant Drip is Not a Big Deal

A little bit of glycol on the garage floor may not seem like a big deal, but it is. First of all it is against both state and federal laws to dump glycol and other hazardous substances into surface waters. When you park your car on the street that’s exactly what you will be doing. Rain water washes the coolant into the storm drain, which then dumps into surface waters.

Glycol is very poisonous. It has a sweet taste that dogs and small children find irresistible. So letting it out of your car — one way or another — is a recipe for disaster.

In addition to the health and environmental hazards, sooner or later a car radiator leak will end up being a cooling system failure. If the leak is on the radiator itself, it will eventually spit wide open and dump all of the coolant. If it is a hose, the hose will blow out and fail. If it’s a seal you will introduce air into the system that can cause a vapor lock preventing proper cooling. In other words, all kinds of nasty things can happen that will cost you a lot more time and money than fixing the problem when it is small.

Myth 4: All Anti-Freeze Products are Pretty Much the Same

I wish this myth was true, but it’s not. In fact, some car manufacturers, like Porsche, will void the car warranty if you don’t use the specified fluid. Be sure to check your vehicle owner’s guide before you pour any old product into the cooling system. Like your oil, this is a vital fluid and it needs to be the correct specification.

Myth 5: An All Aluminum Radiator is Best

I suppose if you are building a very high performance vehicle or a race car this would be true. Aluminum is very light and reducing weight is important when you’re goal is going fast. That said, aluminum is not the best heat conductor. Copper, for example, is much better.

The fact is that automobile manufacturers take a lot of factors into consideration, including weight, size, heat dissipation qualities, cost and durability. If you are replacing a defective unit then your best bet will always be original equipment (OE) or OE specification. If you are building a high performance vehicle, custom radiators should be considered.

Electric Cars Get More Affordable, Kind Of

Way back in the distant past, perhaps as long ago as last year, prices for electric cars appeared so high that they may have been just for rich people.

Or technologically savvy first adopters. Or both.

Strangely, that’s no longer the case. Electric car prices have dropped. In the case of the Nissan Leaf, the decline has been precipitous. As in ka-boom. According to the link, the base model is $21,300 with an asterisk that says “net value after federal tax savings.”

That federal tax savings could be as much as $7,500, depending on what model is purchased. Still, not bad.

J.Q. Public makes a call

I first heard of this by way of a caller I’ll dub Nathan. His was a random inquiry to the front desk at the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District where I work as a grants processor. Normally, those I speak with want to know about grants to replace heavy-duty semi-trucks, the bread and butter of the Incentives Department at the Air District in Fresno, Calif.

But Nathan had something else on his mind.

“Do you still have the grant for electric cars?” he asked. I didn’t know anything about the program, but knowing about this stuff is my job. So I found out. Turns out the District has a Drive Clean rebate program that offers up to $3,000 reimbursement. Hardly insignificant.

Of course, the vehicle must be on the list. The Leaf is. So are others, including the Honda Accord plug-in hybrid, the Chevy Volt with low emissions package and a bunch of others. Some are quite obscure. Spoiler is the applicant must live in the San Joaquin Valley, a sometimes hot region defined as the southern borders of Kern to the northern borders of San Joaquin counties.

Affordability

Whether buying electric is a viable option depends on the person and car. Nathan went over his personal options with me. This is something I’ve become familiar with in the past year as truckers needing to meet California Air Resources Board emissions compliance dates do it all the time. Big question they have to ask themselves: Can I afford this?

After talking with Nathan, he got me believing that he indeed could. It was to be his second car. His wife has a pretty nice economical ride and this would be his work commuter. The Leaf was what he had his eye on. I mentioned the look of the car. I find it less than appealing. He said he’s alright with it.

In addition to the Drive Clean grant, the Center for Sustainable Energy offers another source of funds. This is a state grant through the ARB and can be as much as $2,500. The level depends on the car. For instance, the RAV4 EV from Toyota gets the maximum amount.

Prices

The pricing page of the Nissan Leaf brings my total up to $29,650. But add in the tax savings and other grants and that could drive down the price by $12,000. Maybe. I’m not going to really test the concept.

Still, that’s a pretty good deal for a car that doesn’t need $50 in gas every week or week and a half. That’s what I now pay to keep my Passat on the road. Well, that and a lot of maintenance costs. I just bought new eco-friendly tires for $600 or something like that.

Granted another electric car would be more expensive. The Tesla Model S, for instance, has a base price of $62,400. But that’s a luxury machine, a hot looking car that I’ve been pining over for the past several years. Of course, I’d want the extreme version, the performance package for $87,400.

Electric cars aren’t for everybody, but the prices do appear to be dipping somewhat. Perhaps that will entice more people to take the plunge.